According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, up to 20% of the population have this learning disorder. However, many children can exhibit signs of dyslexia when they have an eye problem. Early detection can offer the right solution, but it’s important to understand the difference between dyslexia, visual impairment, and how the two may co-exist.
Dyslexia Symptoms vs Eye Problems
Dyslexia has different symptoms depending on the age of the child. Early symptoms among preschool-aged children include:
- Difficulty learning common nursery rhymes
- Trouble remembering or recognizing the names of letters
- Difficulty in recognizing the letters in their name
- Persistently uses “baby talk” and mispronounces common words
- Does not recognize rhyming words, e.g. cat and hat
Among school-aged children, dyslexia is most often diagnosed when the child displays reading difficulties. For example, they may be unable to associate letters with sounds or connect written words on the page with what they describe. For example, they may say “kitty” when they see a picture of a cat, even if “cat” is written on the page.
Eye Problems and Dyslexia Symptoms
Certain vision issues can cause children to struggle with reading and writing. For example, visual acuity issues like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) can make reading difficult and cause children to make frequent errors. They may also avoid reading altogether.
Other potential eye problems that may mimic dyslexia symptoms include:
- Convergence insufficiency — This causes two eyes to not work well in unison, which can make reading difficult.
- Amblyopia (Lazy eye) — If one eye does not develop as much as the other, it can cause visual impairment and reading problems.
- Poor eye tracking — If children cannot track words or letters properly, they may struggle to write coherently or follow lines on a page.
- Visual-motor integration issues — If a child struggles to pair visual input with movement, this can negatively affect their writing, which may mimic the struggles of children with dyslexia.
Can My Child Have Eye Problems and Dyslexia?
Yes, both dyslexia and visual impairment or ocular disease can exist at the same time. However, it is important to rule out any eye conditions that could cause the symptoms of dyslexia to avoid misdiagnosis.
Please contact us at North Suburban Eye Associates at 781-245-5200 to schedule an eye exam for your child. You can also message us with any questions or to request your appointment.